Suffering - Jun 13, 2021 Author: Jeanette Green
Singing through the night
Since the beginning of December, last year, when I heard I wouldn’t be receiving any treatment for my cancer, I have been focused on getting my story written. So, to stay focused, I mostly avoid going down my YouTube rabbit hole.
But, this past Wednesday, a moment of writers’ block was a tool in God’s hand to lead me to discover a treasure. I clicked that magnetic red logo in my browser, my eyes fell on a golden buzzer thumbnail, and I got lost in watching what turned out to be a life-shaping performance. ‘It’s okay', by Nightbirde. Listening to her story, then her song, my entire body broke out in goosebumps and I felt my spirit soar.
God wanted me to learn more from her, though. Thursday morning, a friend sent me the link to Nightbirde’s blog. The seed of intrigue has been planted the day before, so I headed there. While Nightbirde’s words streamed into my eyes, into my soul, tears streamed down my face. I was taken nine years back, to my bathroom floor and what God did in me, then. What He has done, since.
Something else happened, this past Thursday, that I am still trying to understand the full meaning of. I woke with my back in agony. Thought it would get better, but it did not.
Around ten in the morning, another friend sent me a link to a worship event of Heinz Winkler with the theme of ‘Praising and Thanking God for the storm.’ I listened and sang along to the recording of it, and felt God confirm something I sensed Him whisper in my soul. Sing, sing, sing. Worship, praise, rejoice.
The past two weeks, I received two e-mails, with the heading ‘Ready for an adventure?’ and thereafter, two with the heading, ‘The exams are upon you'. By Friday, I realized that my back pain was not going to evaporate. Rather, it was getting worse. I remembered those messages, and I heard Jesus whisper in my heart, “it’s exam time.”
Despite the agony I was in, I felt the weirdest sense of joy. Like I was born for this. For me, a hater of pain, this feeling didn’t make sense. Perhaps it wasn’t a feeling, but more of a knowing that this pain can’t separate me from God. No. Jesus will be nearer than ever. He has proven that to me through my years of suffering.
Saturday morning, I woke, still ravaged by the relentless pain. And I received from another friend, the link to Nightbirde’s blog and her golden buzzer video. So, an exclamation mark appeared in my soul. Lord, what are you saying to me? I went to bed, Saturday night, with the same question in my heart, woke today, still listening for the answer.
Jesus leads me further on my discovery journey. An article about Nightbirde on housekeeping.com draws my attention. I read about her motivation behind her name change, that she wanted to be somebody who can sing through the night, certain of the approaching dawn. A lightbulb goes on inside of me. Isn’t her attitude, the kind of attitude Peter wrote in 1 Pe 4 we should arm ourselves with, a Jesus-attitude, her example the same Paul encouraged us to follow in Heb 12:2, Jesus’ example?
I think of Paul, his shipwreck that led to miracles on the island of Malta. How he shook of that snake, certain it could do nothing to him, because an angel of the Lord promised him he had to appear before the emperor. And I get the impression that this is the exam I must write now. One during which, by God’s grace, I shall shake off the snake that latched on to my hand, because I have the certainty that I must tell my story, still. While now I share in Christ’s suffering, I shall rejoice, certain that I will share in His glory, too.
I had a conversation with my childhood best friend, surprise, also on Thursday. Hearing her voice felt like a hug from Heaven. She asked if I was in pain, I answered, “Not so much. I don’t know if I could remain hopeful if I did experience a lot of pain.” Little did I know that my exam paper has already been handed to me.
Now, carried on the wings of prayers, I lean into Jesus, hold on to His grace, to help me sing throughout the night. In my heart, I see the sun rising.